Denial of Service (DoS) attacks have been around as long as computers have been networked. But if your business relies on the Internet to sell products or collaborate, a DoS attack is more than a nuisance, it can be critical.
Over the past few years, the number of DoS attacks has continued to slowly grow in a “cat and mouse” evolution — bad actors get a slightly stronger attack, and network vendors come up with slightly more resilient equipment to defend. Generally the attacks came from botnets comprised of infected computers and servers. The cost of acquiring and keeping these systems in the botnet was relatively expensive, so there was an economic limiter on how fast the attacks would grow. Then Mirai happened in 2016 and everything changed.
The Mirai botnet didn’t struggle with corporate security teams and technical security controls like anti virus software and firewalls.
Instead, it focused on the millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices like webcams and Internet routers in the home to build the botnet. With no security controls to overcome, the Mirai botnet was able to grow and launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks larger than ever seen before. A high-profile attack against Internet journalist Brian Krebs signaled that things had changed, then the October 2016 attack against DNS provider Dyn, showed how devastating a DDoS attack can be. And in the world of a cyber criminal, devastating is where the profit opportunities lie.
According to an Arbor Networks’ report at the end of 2016, “In 2016, IoT botnets emerged as a source of incredibly high volume DDoS attacks. So far these massive attacks have not leveraged reflection/amplification techniques. They are simply taking advantage of the sheer number of unsecured IoT devices that are deployed today.”
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